Let me lead with the punchline: I was able to slog my way to 8th place in this match and was awarded another “Rifle tab”. This March I made my way down toward Bastrop, Texas to Camp Swift to participate in the 2017 Governor’s 20 Combat Rifle Match. Competitors from the Air National Guard, the Army National Guard, and our Texas State Guard all compete for the coveted tab in the state rifle match with issued rifles (or equivalent) and ammunition. Normally you try to bring a 4-man team, but we only could scrape up 2 of us this year. We did join up with a couple of Air National Guard cops from the 147th to complete a “scratch team”.
I checked out my trusty M16A2 from the armory. Most competitors did the same. Some were competing with M4s with various rear sights as this year was supposedly the last year for no-optics, irons sights only. For many years now the championship up at Camp Robinson, Arkansas have been shot with rifles sporting issued optics (up to 4 power). We were issued the new-hotness M855A1 ammunition for this match, and when I say new hotness I mean new hotness. The steel-tipped stuff definitely shoots flatter than the old green-tip. I saw at least 2 MOA higher elevation on my dope at 300 yards and around 1 MOA at 400 yards when compared to my old M855 zeros. The M855A1 also did a number on the steel plates we were shooting at 200 yards during the fallen comrades match, as you can see.
The rifle competition is shot from 400 yards to 25 yards. We were able to get in 6 matches this weekend thanks to the efforts of the range staff and the competitors. Friday we shot the Special Zero Match that allows you to get a zero on a new rifle or new ammo while competing for score. The Special Zero Match starts at 100 yards and moves back to 400 yards. This match allowed us to get good dope for the ever-important EIC Match on Sunday. I did not do very well on this first match.
Saturday was different, it started out quite well with me. We shot a CQB Match, which consists of position shooting and snap fire starting at the 100 yard line and moving in to within 25 yards. I did not embarrass myself during this match, although my rust from not shooting these matches in a few years was showing. To my defense I had not shot this match or the Reflexive Fire match with iron sights before today. The next match was the pistol Anti-Body Armor Match but done with our rifles at 25 yards. I did well at this one. I have shot this match, especially with a pistol about three-hundred-times so I should know it.
Then we shot our first team match, the Rundown Match. This consists of 100 yard sprints to a position shooting at the 400, 300, 200 and 100 yard lines. Prone positions are utilized at 400 and 300, kneeling at 200 and standing at 100 yards. I did poorly at this match and really let the rest of the team down. I don’t know if it was rustiness or my fat ass that contributed to the lowest score in my squad, or a combination of everything. My inability to hit a target continued into the next match, the Fallen Comrades Match. Consisting of all 4 team members running a 100 yard sprint to the 200 yard line and all shooting at steel plates, the match really gets fun once all the plates are down. That is when you must pick up and carry one of the shooters back 100 yards for the time to stop. We dropped our lightest Airman twice on the 100 yard carry, and in the shooting portion I did not hit a single plate.
On Sunday morning I was tied for 8th place. Sunday we shoot the Excellence in Competition Match. The top 10% of shooters in this match can earn points toward a distinguished rifleman’s badge. This match also counts toward the team and individual aggregate. I did well on this match, which is shot from the 400 yard line to the 25 yard line. I did miscalculate and saved a round at the end, leaving 5 points in my gun like a newb. Rusty.
My saving grace Sunday was that a couple of shooters that were ahead of me did very poorly on the EIC match, allowing me to keep my 8th place finish.